GBTV - 24/7 Giant Bomb Videos

Somewhere around last week, Tubesynch came into existence. So, being one of the first people there, I made what has been requested for a long time: a chat room where Giant Bomb fans can watch Giant Bomb videos together non-stop. You can find it here.

But, I'm not making this post to advertise, just to clarify my uses for the room. Here are the guidelines I follow when choosing which videos to add to the queue:

  • No videos which are just talking for too long. This means no long-form interviews, morning show or site redesign stuff. Also, no Bombcast stuff. There's already a place for that. Videos taken around the office are okay, like Mailbags and unboxing videos. Short E3-style interviews are probably fine.
  • Single clips are good, but no highlight montages or Best Ofs. I want to keep a cohesive feel.
  • Cohesion also requires no single parts of a series. Game Room Quick Looks don't count, and having two parts to something is okay as long as the length is good. I don't want to get into marathon stuff just yet.

I have to queue everything up manually, so if anyone wants to help, that'd be great. I'm happy to appoint what Tubesynch calls Leaders to help manage the queue for when I'm not around. Right now, I'm accepting anyone whose username I recognise from the site, so if you want to help out, let me know your Tubesynch username on here and I'll let you know if I know you :P

Also, I'll let anyone site mods be mods for this chat, if they want. Here are the rules: Don't ruin chat. Being a jerk is fine, I think, just as long as you don't ruin chat for everyone else.

It's not usually busy, but there's always someone idling, so jump in and have fun. If you don't like what's on, look down the list and come back later. I'll turn on voteskip when I know it's working right. Like I said, Tubesynch is about a week old, so they're still working stuff out, too.

I think that's it! Let me know if you have any questions, suggestions or comments.

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To Sleep, Perchance To Game.

I've been using Wake-Up Club every time I've needed to wake up for anything since I got my Vita, which feels like two years ago and I'm not going to check to see if that's possible. It feels like it should have more clock themes than it seems to have, but I'm okay sticking with my Journey one. The best thing about it is that the alarm sound is actually not annoying after two years. I use the rushing water sound, which is more like white noise than an alarm and not like any other alarm or ringtone I've grown to hate over time.

The social aspect of Wake-Up Club is weird. I have no idea who these people are ever, or where they are, if they're waking up at similar times to me. They can easily be avoided by setting the alarm to three minutes past the hour, but then why use Wake-Up club at all? The strangest thing to me is the process of waking up as a group with a leaderboard. When the alarm goes off, your avatar flies around the screen and you have to tap the screen until you're awake enough to hit it. Then, you pass on to the screen for your club of the day, where you can see who is awake and who isn't. Sometimes, there are people who haven't hit the alarm and you can tap their avatar to send them a sound to get them to wake up. The AI members of the club require three taps each to wake up. Once everyone's awake, there's a leaderboard that shows who woke up fastest.

Even when I arrive at the club members screen with everyone seemingly awake, I'm always first on the leaderboard, so I don't know what kind of timer it's using, if any. I think if everyone isn't awake after five minutes, the club fails. I've only had this happen when I've woken up before the alarm and come back to bed too late. I'm not going to wait five minutes for other people to wake up or not.

Overall, it's probably the best alarm I've used (mostly because I don't hate the alarm sound) and I'm going to keep using it. Also, I want the trophies.

Over on 3DS, I've been using a DSiWare thing called Sleep Clock, which records your sleep time and purports to analyse your sleeping patterns, telling you when you should sleep and for how long. By "records your sleep", it actually means "you tell it when you go to sleep and wake up" and by "analyse", it means "it'll tell you when you slept and for how long".

I've been using it for just under a month and, although it wasn't exactly what I thought it might be (the Dr. Kawashima of sleeping), it's enough of what I wanted for me to get some use out of it. You tell it when you're going to sleep, close the DS, go to sleep, wake up, open the DS and tell it you're awake. You can then tell it whether you feel 'Great', 'Okay' or 'Bad', which I take as meaning 'Enough Sleep', 'Could Use More' and 'Need Sleep Now!' It has alarms, but I'd rather stick with Wake-Up Club for that, so I haven't been using them. They're functional, at least.

Sleep Clock records the time you sleep each day, for the day you wake up, meaning if you sleep for eight hours starting at 10pm on Saturday, the eight hours of sleep count for Sunday. That led to some weird situations where it looks like I only got four or five hours sleep for that day, when I really got more during the 24-hour period. There are immediate graphs showing the hours you slept, as well as the average sleep time. My average for the last week was 9:04! I always thought I slept for 10-12 hours a day, but this thing's proven me wrong.

After three nights of recorded sleep, you get access to records for how many times you fell asleep at each hour, how many times you slept for each hour length and how many times you woke up at each hour. You can also filter these by the Good, Okay, Bad ratings, allowing you to find out how long you need to sleep to feel good (as long as possible) or when you feel worst waking up (early). However, I find the graphs kind of confusing or useless at this point and I can't really use them to gather much about my erratic sleeping patterns. I sleep when I like and wake up when I have to.

It's a nice piece of software for what I use it for and easier than keeping an Excel spreadsheet or something of my sleep times. I'll keep using it, probably, as long as it makes sense to keep a 3DS next to my bed, and hopefully the graphs will get more useful as the information mounts. For any deeper analysis, I recommend you see a specialist.

Sweet dreams!

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Divekick: Very First Impressions

Because I really have to tell this story to someone who'll appreciate it.

It was my second match and I was up against someone I'd seen at the top of the leaderboards, who I knew was a streamer because I'd seen a stream of his a couple of days ago. I picked MarkMan, who I'm pretty sure takes some skill to play well, and he picked Dr. Shoals, his favorite character, or "main". After he won the first round, over the mic, I heard him say to his viewers "Oh, this guy's in trouble." I won the second round and we were tied until the last round.

Divekick is the fighting game of the people.

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Games for Windows Live Missing The Mark

I guess everyone else had their computers destroyed or accounts locked by GFWL or they had to spend ten hours signing up, but I've never had any problems with it. In fact, I like buying games that are connected to Xbox Live, for the achievements and other tracking purposes. Was I the only one disappointed that Mark of the Ninja wouldn't be a game for Windows Live? I'll probably buy it since I've got all the achievements on 360 anyway, but it would've been nice to have them on PC too, since I'm going to be doing them all again.

I was originally going to make this a forum thread, but I thought it was just whiny enough to be a blog post.

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Confessions of a Steam Addict Supplemental

I'm going to stop doing this for a while. I started it at a time when I didn't really have many other games to play, but now I have a lot. A few months wasn't bad for a projected I started the day I conceived it, so I don't feel bad. Plus, I'll come back to it. I just have less time, it seems.

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Confessions of a Steam Addict 7: Falling With Style

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAaaAAAaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaAAAAAaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaa is the game I started off the week with. I always felt like I'd played quite a bit of it, but Steam said I'd only played about 20 minutes before this week. So, I spent a lot of time this week BASE jumping while listening to podcasts. Eventually, I got around half-way through the levels and found it difficult to progress any further. To unlock levels, you need teeth, which are earned by achieving at least your best ranking on a level. These mid-range levels were getting expensive for me to unlock without a lot of work, so I decided to check the end levels to see what the teeth requirements back there were. It turns out that the levels expand both ways around the circle, not just right. Going left from the beginning levels also works, almost making this an open world game.

The game was suddenly fun and easy again now that I was playing the starter levels. I even unlocked a new skill I'd seen referenced before. Eventually, I worked my way back around to where I'd gotten stuck before. This left me with two levels I was unable to unlock without a serious work and time commitment. I'm not really into that "working hard" stuff, so I decided I'd hit my skill ceiling and I moved onto the next game.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaAAAAAaaaaAAAAAAAA was the next game on my list. From what I can tell, it's just a souped up version of the first game, with a set of harder levels. I can't be sure, though, because the wiki is empty. Someone needs to work on that. I got three levels into it before hitting my skill ceiling again. I wasn't sure I'd get through the first level, but I did. Apparently there's an iPhone version, maybe I should try that.

I was always going to play Achron and I was looking forward to it, but when it came to it, I just didn't feel like learning a whole new RTS game. I love time travel, but not if I have to play an RTS to get to it.

Age of Chivalry is a game I love and will come back to many times, so it doesn't fit the purpose of this exercise.

Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures is 25GB, so forget that. Unless there's high demand for it, of course. High demand being at least one person, since nobody reads this anyway.

Next week: Airline Tycoon 2! So here's the question I have for you: should I buy the DLC for it? That'd be pretty dumb, right?

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Confessions of a Steam Addict 6: Or, How I Learned To Stop Trying

And Just Give Up.

This is going to be a bigger, longer and harder update, probably (I haven't written it yet), because the last update was late and the next week would've covered about three days. So instead, this update is covering two weeks of the Steam games I've played. It felt like a lot at the time.

A Game Of Thrones: Genesis

Two weeks ago, I'd just discovered the basics of AGOTG; moving little people around and making them fight and kill each other. Before I moved onto any further campaigns, I wanted to give a large-scale AI game a shot, playing against seven other factions. The game crashed after a few minutes, but during those minutes I was mostly confused about what was going on, trying to manage the various pieces and systems and factions and generally not playing very well. I like to play games that way, with me as just one of many pieces on the ultimate structure of the playing field, which is why I like Mount & Blade a lot and why I never finished my first very large game of Civ V, but I decided it wasn't conducive to my goal of finishing/getting good at the games set out before me.

I played a few missions into the second campaign and decided it was going well and the objectives were fairly easy, so I'd press on as much as I could. The campaigns themselves are probably really interesting to fans of the books and having a dragon is fun, even if the damage done is represented in numbers and meters only. After about three missions, I got to an objective I couldn't figure out, so I got bored and played some more AI games.

Graphs are always fun.

I can't remember much specifically about these games, expect the achievements seeming pretty easy and liking the results screens. It feels like they had high hopes for this game, but the community seems to agree that they didn't market it enough to generate a steady player base, starving the game. Eventually I just decided I didn't like the game and that I'd played enough of it, so it was time to move onto something new.

I feel like cutting the blog in two here, but I know the statistics posts are long, so I don't think there's anything wrong with going on. Also, when you're writing it always seems like you've written more than you have. This update is probably just five sentences so far.

A.R.E.S.

I'm choosing to skip A Valley Without Wind because it's a game I like and I know I'll get back to it one day. Instead, I'm moving on to A.R.E.S., I game about a robot who was built without the capacity to love. It's a side-scrolling platformer with shooty robots going pew pew pew pew, something I'm more suited to than medieval fantasy RTSs. The game has elements which make it seem like some Metroidvania things will be involved, like secret collectables which can potentially upgrade your robot's stats hidden behind things you can't get to without certain powers you'll receive in later levels. No problem, I thought, I'll just ignore any especially difficult collectables until I get stuck, then I'll just hit the level select screen.

Maybe I should've used this super attack more.

The platforming can get difficult, with wind to push you back and weirdly imprecise movement controls, at least using a 360 controller. Also, the upgrade system is strange because you essentially have to farm for upgrade points on higher difficulties, which they make easy by having the enemies quickly respawn, but the upgrade points are the same currency used to buy bombs used to access secret areas or get through obstacles and health packs used to heal. This is what makes farming essential; the items you need to get through the levels are expensive enough to offset any profit from getting through the levels. Even then, farming is tedious because occasionally you'll get hit, creating need for another health pack, meaning it takes longer to make enough for an upgrade.

So eventually, I made it to the final boss after a long level of fighting and platforming and I found it too difficult to proceed. So, I thought, this is the time to use my new skills to get some of the previous collectables I missed. It's only then that I discovered that there is no level select screen. Apparently, you have to start a new game plus to get all of those collectables at the beginning. And if I wanted to get back to the boss, I'd have to go through that whole last level again, farming as much as I could. So that's when I stopped playing that game.

AaAaAA!!! - A Reckless Disregard for Gravity

Then I started playing this game some. I've played it a little before, but I've never gotten the hang of it, so I'm looking forward to getting better. I'm not going to try to perfect every level, just to play all of them and finish. Then I can do it all again in the sequel.

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Confessions of a Steam Addict 5: Winter is Coming, Eventually

Boy, a week sure does go fast, huh? Sorry this update is late, but I told the time machine operator that I wanted to go to Sunday and he took me to the very first Sunday! What with the time differentials and all, it took me a while to catch up, but here I am once again to regale you with stories from lands afar. Or, more accurately, I'm going to update you on what it's like to play through a literal embarrassment of Steam games, one by one.

This week, I started playing A Game of Thrones: Genesis, or, as I like to call it, RTS the first. Real-time strategy has never been something I've been good at and since I prefer to play games I am good at, I've generally stayed away from the genre. However, I'm not willing to ignore a whole genre, especially one which includes Achron.

AGoT:G plays with the themes of the books by introducing deception and underhandedness into the gameplay, but mostly it's just flavor text for what amounts to rock paper scissors, only sometimes your opponent doesn't tell you you're playing until he's stabbed you with the scissors. Still, it's an okay theme to get someone like me more interested in playing the game. Plus, it provides some interesting backstory on the events of the books, if you're into that sort of thing. I haven't read the books, but I like the TV show and I don't think there's anything I haven't understood up to where I've played.

My time with the game so far was spent reading the in-game encyclopaedia, which took a couple of hours somehow, then going through the tutorial, then playing through the first campaign, which seemed to be a more applied tutorial. I am now ready to start playing the game and am entering this next week with gusto.

Remember to message me if you want to play, even if it's just to get achievements or something. I won't be playing this forever, I hope.

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Confessions of a Steam Addict 4: Keep On Truckin'

18 Wheels of Steel: American Long Haul starts out slow, but then after the first few times you're fined for not undergoing mandatory checks or because you exceeded the limits of how long you're allowed to drive, you realise it's just a very technical game. And so, with that in mind, I stopped playing the career mode and just stuck to single delivery jobs. What am I, a trucker's manual?

After switching to single deliveries, the game got more manageable, with fines having no impact and fuel not really being an issue. Also, it gave me a game to play while listening to the Bombcast. After 200 hours of spectating on the same CS:S server, I'm starting to feel like kind of a dirtbag.

Beware the bear.

American Long Haul's probably a good game if you're into trucks and stuff. I even eventually learned what a 10-13 was after everyone on the radio kept asking about it. The AI struck me as a little odd, although I guess realistic. A few times I came across a couple of cars crashed into each other and I'm sure other drivers slow down when they reach police parked by the side of the road. It's a neat thing to happen, I guess.

After a few hours of delivering goods via highways, I decided it was time to step it up a notch to some more extreme environments.

18 Wheels of Steel: Extreme Trucker is another game in the apparently highly successful 18 Wheels of Steel series. In a lot of ways, it feels like a dumbed down version of its predecessor. The career mode has been scrapped in favor of giving the player a choice of missions to play in unlocked areas, with various statistics collected along the way. This could be explained by the lack of freedom included in the areas provided, but it's still just a bunch of roads with companies in various places.

Also lacking are any fuel or sleep requirements, as missions can often last just 15 minutes of in-game time. I think those felt about 2-3 minutes long in real life. There are other trucks around, but there's no CB radio in this game; a great disappointment to all. I miss people asking about 10-13s and then getting worried when I answer with a non sequitur because I don't know what a 10-13 is.

Safe drive, stay employed.

There's no police anywhere in the game, so you can drive however you like, which can make the game a little easier to handle. However, there are hazards along the way, which I guess can destroy your truck or something, but they never really had much effect on me; I drove around them. I did manage to hurt my vehicle pretty badly, though, just because those Bolivian roads can get really tight and windy. I was just hitting the walls and other cars too much. You can lose a lot of points through damage and it's really the only difficult thing about the game, other than some roads not being marked on the map. I was once left with just a 2 point profit because I had less than 10% left on my truck.

I unlocked all of the areas and ranked up a few times in the last and that was it. The game also has a sequel which I will never play. Instead, I'll next be playing A Game of Thrones - Genesis. I'll tell you all about it next week. Oh, and this is the first multiplayer game, so if you wanna play and show me how good you are, send some words my way.

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Confessions of a Steam Addict 3: Truck You, Mothertruckers!

This week, I "played" 18 Wheels of Steel: American Long Haul. Well, not really. I tried starting a career and once I figured out how to pick up an order, I drove for days until I figured out where my fuel meter was and saw that I was almost out, with no fuel stations close enough to save me. Forunately, I still have a save file from earlier, so I should be able to fill up next time I play. "Play".

It might be because I'm not American or because I've never driven a car before, but I don't seem to be a great driver in this driving simulation game. Which is also something I learned playing NASCAR 2011 this week. I never seem to be in the right lane for where I need to go. And those damn cops keep fining me, so even if I do make this delivery, I've lost money on it. There were two cars crashed in the middle of the highway and I didn't have time to stop, that's not my fault! The red lights and driving in the wrong lane probably were, though...

This will be the last post I put in the Steam forum, unless someone persuades me otherwise, because there will be more that are smaller and I already feel like I'm flooding it with this thing. I'll put it in the game forums, I guess? Keeping up on my profile is probably the best way to follow this thing, if you care about it. I'd suggest following me, but I'm not really sure how that helps.

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